About this project
EDIT 10 - Amazing. $150,000 raised, 300% funded. We were in the region of $125k two days ago, and we were wondering whether we'd hit the Soviet Town or not - but we've got that and gone another $10k further (and we're still going)! You guys have been fantastic.
EDIT 9 - We've hit the Soviet Town tileset at $140,000 with 13 hours left to go! To make the last few hours more exciting, we've tweaked the stretch goals again - tileset-specific AI soldiers have been moved to $150,000 (300% funding and a nice round number!)
The remaining stretch goals can be seen with the other historical edits at the bottom of the page!
1 October, 1979: Unidentified forces arrive in Earth orbit, presumed of extraterrestrial origin. Panic spreads globally when attempts at communication fail, and efforts to repel invaders scouting the upper atmosphere are met with heavy losses and little success.
Only a single successful interception occurs, conducted by modified aircraft that appear at least partially resistant to the extraterrestrial weaponry. Following this victory, a clandestine organisation known only as the ‘Xenonauts’ establishes communication with the major world powers and claims responsibility, demanding both funding and authority to operate within their territory and airspace in exchange for protection.
For humanity, a glimmer of hope remains – if they can withstand the attacks long enough unravel the secrets of the alien aggressors, the Xenonauts may find yet a way to defeat the alien invasion. Should they fail, millions of years of human history will be brought to a close in mere months…
Strategic Map: Take command of Earth's defense on the strategic map, building and managing bases across the globe. Deploy your interceptor aircraft to track and engage the alien craft as they appear, and research captured alien artifacts to unlock new battlefield technology and reveal the secrets of the alien menace!
The strategic level of the game contains the high-level management of the game, controlling the finances of the organisation and balancing expanding your defences to new areas against protecting the areas you already cover. This is where you build or hire and equip your aircraft, vehicles and soldiers used in the other parts of the game.
Aerial Combat: Battle alien craft in fast paced pausable real-time air combat, with squadrons of up to three combatants on each side. With numerous different interceptors and over a dozen alien UFO types to battle, the air combat is a major addition to the old X-Com formula!
The air combat is triggered when human aircraft and alien UFOs meet on the strategic map. Each aircraft is individually controllable and carries the equipment issued to it on the strategic level. If destroyed in combat, it is lost forever - so be careful!
Ground Combat: Control Xenonaut strike teams on ground missions in old-school turn-based combat! Arm your soldiers with a variety of weapons and tackle numerous types of aliens on the battlefield, each with unique abilities and posing a different challenge. Your troops are persistent and level up with time, assuming they live that long - the aliens are dangerous enemies and casualties are frequent!
Each mission is dynamically generated (based on the events of the strategic map), with fully-destructible battlefields generated in a semi-random layout. There are various types of mission, from recovering the crashed UFOs shot down in the air combat to clearing out alien terror sites. You might also find yourself attacking an alien base, or desperately defending your own against alien attack.
Success in a mission allows the player to recover the corpses of the alien units and their equipment, as well as any surviving UFO components. These unlock new research projects on the strategic layer of the game, allowing the player to build new weapons and equipment to use on the battlefield!
All this probably sounds familiar to some readers – Xenonauts is a spiritual successor to the classic X-Com strategy games. We are aiming to take the original mechanics and update them for the modern age, making them easier to use and more in-depth without changing the fundamentals. All the classic features are present and accounted for – things like turn-based combat, destructible environments, soldier permadeath and large squad sizes (you’ll need them)!
Don't just take our word for it, though - you can download our latest development build at the link below and make your mind up for yourself:
There's still plenty of work to do done on the game, a lot to do with the interface and usability, but we hope it is advanced enough for you to see what we are shooting for for the final game!
Xenonauts has been in development for almost three years already, and has been available for pre-order for the last 18 months (please see the FAQ if you have already pre-ordered the game). We are planning to release the game this year. Why are we doing a Kickstarter?
The answer is simple - we want to make Xenonauts as good as it can be! We have raised enough money through our existing pre-order system to finish the game, but there are a lot of cool little touches that we want to implement but we simply don't have the resources to justify spending our time on. This is a shame - it's always the little touches that make a game memorable!
Xenonauts is also an incredibly complex game and contains vast amounts of content. We only have three full-time team members (the project lead, one artist and one coder) and they don't even live in the same country, instead working together in a virtual office. Everyone else on the team works with us part-time, around other jobs - the ones that pay the bills. This causes a lot of delays, bottlenecks, miscommunication and stress.
Despite the difficulties, we are nearing completion of the game using this model. However, getting the key team members together full time and in the same place would allow us to respond to bugs and issues more quickly, and finish the game faster and to a higher standard (and with less damage to our collective sanity).
The key message is this: if the Kickstarter fails, Xenonauts will still be released and will be a good game. If the Kickstarter succeeds, the game will be better and finished more quickly because of it.
There's plenty in it for you too - as well as ensuring you end up with a great game at the end of development, we're offering a whole bunch of rewards to people who pledge to support Xenonauts (check the FAQ for full details for each one)!
- A digital copy of Xenonauts on release, with full access to the development builds and beta in the meantime.
- Pre-Order forum medals for the official Xenonauts forums!
- Desktop wallpapers for your computer!
- A full-size A3 Xenonauts wall poster!
- A limited-edition black Xenonauts T-shirt!
- The Xenonauts Art Book, a full-colour 48-page book featuring selected artwork taken from the project and the stories behind them!
- The chance for in-game soldiers to spawn with your name, nationality and even your face!
- Special thanks in the game intro / outro credits!
Full details on these rewards are available in the FAQ section below.
So, you're excited by the game and excited by the rewards you can get for donating - what exactly is it that we want to spend the money on?
It's difficult to say exactly what additional features would end up in the final game, because sometimes new features don't work very well and have to be removed again. But these are some of the ideas we'd like to explore:
- New UI
- Animated battlefield tiles
- High quality research-screen art
- Combat suppression mechanics
- Soldier medal system
- Battlefield motion detector
- UI art updating to reflect game progress
- Intro / Outro movie (in the monochrome painted style of the Homeworld cutscenes)
- Encouragement for modders (eg. our Soviet Weapons pack)
However, the most important benefit is unlikely to be directly visible in the final product - having the team working together much more closely. The more money we can raise, the more we can move towards a traditional studio setup.
Working remotely with part-time team members didn't pose too many difficulties when everyone was working on separate elements of the game, but as we've started tying things together bugs and features frequently overlap across several different areas. This makes it essentially impossible to work to any meaningful deadlines.
Having access to more money won't magically make all of our problems disappear, but it will fix a lot of them. It will let us experiment with the cool ideas listed above (amongst others) and should allow us to have a much smoother beta phase and game launch, resulting in you getting a more polished product with fewer delays.
The support the community has given this project up to this point has been fantastic, so a big thankyou goes out to anyone who has already pre-ordered the game or helped out along the way.
- We would be incredibly grateful for the chance to make Xenonauts as good as it can be, as it has been a labour of love for everyone on the team for the past three years and we've love for it to deliver on the vast promise it has!
- $75,000 - Dedicated level designer! - ACHIEVED!
- $100,000 - Indoor missions! - ACHIEVED!
- $140,000 - Soviet Town terror mission tileset!
- $180,000 - Military Base terror mission tileset!
- $205,000 - Tileset-specific friendly AI soldiers!
- $230,000 - Motion detector!
- $255,000 - Soldier Memorial screen!
- $280,000 - Vehicle combat experience!
- $305,000 - Pilot portraits & callsigns!
- $330,000 - Proximity grenades!
- $355,000 - Tall grass!
- $380,000 - Human psionics and blaster bombs mod!
EDIT 8 - 24 hours left to go! There's been a bit of a surge of interest in the project in the last day or two and we're in reach of our $140,000 stretch goal (Soviet Town tileset). This is great, as it's something we weren't confident we'd hit earlier in the week! Huge thanks for the support, let's see how high we can push things in the final day!
EDIT 6 - I have done a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) for the next few hours, if anyone wants to chip in with questions!
EDIT 5 - Wow! We've got into six figures now (and achieved our Indoor Missions stretch goal)! You can also see a preview of the female soldiers and read about what we've been working on in Update 7!
EDIT 4 - We've added boxed DVD copies and second digital copies (to give to a friend) at the $50 mark, and anyone who has already pledged at $50 can choose those as rewards too. See Update 6 for full details (includes a free preview of our Art Book)!
EDIT 3 - Stretch goals have been announced as a result of YOUR voting! See Update 5 for a full list of what will be going in the game, and when! Here's the truncated list:
EDIT 2 - A list of exactly what is going in the game as a result of the money already pledged can be found here, in Update 4!
EDIT 1 - WOW! Fully funded in just over two days! Thanks guys, you are incredible. Xenonauts will now have a DRM-free version at release, and Premium Preorder ($30+) and above will also get a free digital novella by Lee Stephen! More details in our Updates tab!
If you’ve already pre-ordered Xenonauts, great! If you are a Premium Pre-orderer you’ll be entitled to all the goodies at the $30 price point for free. We’ll be posting the digital files up in a special section of our forum that can only be accessed if you have a Premium Pre-Order so you’ll be able to download everything there.
If you want to make a donation to the Kickstarter too, you’ll end up with two keys. The lowest pledge level is $20 and that includes a copy of Xenonauts, something you already have.
You have two options – you can either give the second Xenonauts key you’ll receive for backing the project to somebody else, or you can make a pledge and email us with the receipt from your previous pre-order. We’ll credit your pledge with an extra $20/$30 (depending on whether you bought a Standard or Premium Pre-Order) and disable the extra key.
If you want to take the second option, email http://mailto:email@example.com with your Kickstarter username and your Xenonauts pre-order details. This will be a manual process though, so give us a bit of time to process it!
Yes, you will on release. We have now signed a distribution deal with the good folk at Valve.
Xenonauts will use Desura for distributing pre-order builds until the game is finished, which is a similar service to Steam but is more geared towards indie games.
At release, all pre-orderers and Kickstarter backers will be given the choice of a Desura or Steam key for their pre-order.
As explained in Update #5, Xenonauts currently only works in Windows but there has been enough interest in porting the game that it will recieve both a Mac and Linux port for release.
The Mac port should work natively, but the Linux port will function through an in-built wrapper due to our engine (Playground SDK 5.0) not supporting Linux and us not having access to the engine source code.
We may be able to give access to the beta / development builds before release for Mac / Linux too, but we're not sure. It'll definitely be ready for release though.
In the meantime, Xenonauts apparently runs fine in WINE!
Yes, we are. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last six months, it’s in production by Firaxis and is called XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Ultimately, though, the Firaxis remake is a different type of game to Xenonauts. They have changed quite a few of the fundamentals of the game, streamlining things and removing elements like Time Units and weapon ammo, limiting the player to a single base and shrinking down squad sizes. These changes aren't necessarily bad, but the end result is that their game is taking a rather different form to ours.
Xenonauts is taking the core mechanics of X-Com and updating and balancing them so they are deeper and more intuitive, but not changing the fundamentals.
So Xenonauts is a more faithful remake and the Firaxis game is a more progressive remake. It is a matter of personal preference which you will find more appealing - though you could always buy both!
The poster will look like this:
It will be printed on 170gsm gloss paper and will be A2 in size - 42.0cm × 59.4cm / 16.54in × 23.39in.
The T-shirts are black T-shirts featuring a Xenonauts print. They are available in Small, Medium, Large or XL. We’ve designed them to be relatively subtle, so they can be worn anywhere.
We’re only offering a single T-shirt design because the prices get cheaper the more we order, leaving us more money to spend on development. The two options are these two:
They are both similar, but we'll send out a survey to everyone that is entitled to a T-shirt once the Kickstarter closes asking people to vote on which design they prefer. The winning T-shirt design will be sent to everyone.
The T-shirts are good quality Gildan heavy cotton 6.1oz shirts. If you live outside the US, please add $10 for international shipping.
The Xenonauts Art Book will be a 48-page full-colour book that shows off the best art in the game, and tells the story behind it. It will include previously unusued artwork or earlier iterations of pieces that made it into the game, as well as commentary from the artist themselves (why they like the pieces they've chosen to go in the book, how they painted it etc) and some information on them too.
It will also contain some commentary on the thinking behind the art design and how it fits in with the wider game from me (the Project Lead). I'm hoping it'll be both interesting and pretty to look at; I'm going to keep a few hardback copies to give to my family to help them understand exactly what it is I'm doing with my life now I've quit my "real" job!
You can find a 6-page concept of the Art Book in PDF format at the link below:
If I get a physical copy of the Xenonauts Art Book, can I also have a digital PDF version to view on my e-reader?
Yes, you can.
Every time a new soldier is generated in a game of Xenonauts, there is a 10% chance he will be a pre-generated soldier drawn randomly from a list of people who have backed that pledge. The soldiers will not have preset stats or any skill bonuses, but if we implement the soldier medal system they will probably start with a medal “For Going Beyond The Call of Duty” or something similar.
Depending on the pledge level, you will get to choose an increasing number of elements for your soldier. Any element that is not preset will be generated randomly.
The pledge levels are as follows:
$100 / $125 – Set your soldier name
$150 – Set soldier name and nationality, then choose soldier portrait from the existing portrait pool
$200+ - Set soldier name and nationality, and we will do a portrait of you to go with the soldier. If you want, this portrait may also go in the common pool (subject to restrictions in the FAQ below this one).
There are some restrictions on the names: where possible, please use your actual name rather than a forum name (or something that can pass for a real name). Also, as the game uses a SMALL CAPS font, we can’t use accented or special characters in our names. Please use an Anglicised version of your name to work around this.
If you have had the misfortune of being born with a name we deem to be ridiculous, we reserve the right to request some form of ID to make sure you’re not pulling our leg!
A zip of the soldier portraits can be found below (for use with the $150 tier), although it is likely that a good number of the new portraits we are doing will end up in the common portrait pool as well:
Great. All you have to do is send us a picture of you looking miserable (try to channel “I’m about to be sent into battle against a vastly superior enemy and I have serious doubts about the competence of my commanding officer” if you can) and we’ll get our artist to do a portrait for you to go on your soldier.
These portraits will have to be stylised to a certain degree to fit in with the aesthetic of the game and the existing soldier body graphics, but we’ll do our best to make them look like the photos.
If you want, and if your portrait meets certain requirements, your portrait will also be added to the common portrait pool so any soldier generated by the game has a chance to spawn with your face.
These requirements are:
• Your portrait looks between the ages of 20-35 (the age range of soldiers in Xenonauts)
• Your portrait matches the default soldier body type (body weight etc)
If you do not meet those requirements, you can still have your portrait made and associated with your personal soldier but it would not go into the common pool. We may still have to make you look younger / older or lighter / heavier than your portrait, but it would be less extreme than if you wanted your portrait in the common pool.
Despite the fact the team are based in the UK, we’ll most likely be distributing all our backer goodies from the US, as most of the Kickstarter users are based in the States. So if you live outside the US and are pledging a level that nets you physical rewards, please add $10 for international shipping.
Yes - on release we'll have a DRM-free version downloadable on GamersGate, Desura and hopefully via the Humble Store on our own website.
We'll give you the option to download from those places if you'd rather do that than take a Steam key!
Unfortunately, I'm not sure this will be possible. We're locked out of Paypal thanks to them blocking our account about six months ago, when they were our payment processor. If you're interested, the full story is available here:
Despite this, you can still pre-order the game here if you want though (Desura take Paypal): http://www.desura.com/games/xenonauts
As of Update #5, we will be putting female soldiers in the game!
You'll get a key for Desura once the Kickstarter closes. The demo available on this page IS the latest development build from Desura - we will be posting updated builds on Desura after the Kickstarter closes, but not before. You're not missing out by waiting until the end of the Kickstarter.
We do have more work on the game complete than is shown in the public demo, but this takes the form of late-game human / alien units. These will not appear in the builds until beta, as the alpha is just for playtesting. The beta will contain the full game and will let you play it from start to finish and help us work on balance / usability. Beta is still a few months away yet.
We've not made a decision on this yet. Xenonauts has been around for nearly three years now, so we're in a somewhat unique situation where we are not fully-funded (or currently even mostly-funded) by Kickstarter.
We are considering whether to support Kicking It Forward when Kickstarter becomes our dominant source of revenues, which is at roughly $125,000. However, this is something we genuinely have to think about as there is a little more nuance to the decision as there may at first seem.
On the face of it, Kicking It Forward is a great initiative. Even for an existing project like us, raising money from our existing pre-order fanbase only accounts for about 1/3 of our revenue (as far as we can tell from the Kickstarter stats). The generosity of the people on Kickstarter has been wonderful and has really opened new doors for us, and if other interesting projects can benefit from the same thing, then that can only be a good thing.
However, there are wider issues associated with it. As some of you may know, Kickstarter has asked projects to remove their Kicking It Forwards badges. So many gaming projects have signed up now that it is a major talking point if you have not (hence this FAQ), and so new projects can feel pressured into signing up irrespective of their beliefs on the matter, as they worry about looking selfish otherwise. Being willing to take money from the community, but not being willing to give back.
My understanding is that in Kickstarter's eyes, this effectively amounts to a 5% tax on the profits of any new game project launched on Kickstarter, and they believe that this runs counter to the intended culture of Kickstarter.
I'm not saying I neccessarily subscribe to their viewpoint, but the unusual funding position of Xenonauts and the fact that Kickstarter appear to frown on the initiative means that it is something we genuinely have to think about, rather than just saying "Yes, we'll do it".
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